Pete Peterson and Warren Buffett to Provide Major Gift to the Nuclear Threat Initiative
Pete Peterson and Warren Buffett have each committed $2.5 million in 2008 and $2.5 million in 2009 to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. The Peterson-Buffett grant will support projects to prevent catastrophic nuclear terrorism and help raise public awareness about the urgent need for comprehensive steps to reduce nuclear dangers.
“Pete and Warren’s support is critical to our future and will enable NTI to move forward with projects designed to increase security for vulnerable nuclear weapons materials around the globe,” said NTI Co-Chairman Sam Nunn. “This funding will also give us the flexibility to act quickly when urgent risk reduction opportunities arise.”
Mr. Peterson is Senior Chairman and Co-Founder of The Blackstone Group. Mr. Buffett is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. and an advisor to the NTI Board of Directors.
“Pete has provided exemplary and extraordinary leadership dedicated to a strong and sound course for our nation, and I have no doubt that his new foundation will be a true public service and a blessing for this and future generations,” said Senator Nunn. “Every organization that Pete has touched has been strengthened and made more effective by his intellect and leadership. Warren is one of the world’s most respected business leaders, and I will always be grateful for his long-time support of NTI and his strong commitment and dedication to these important issues.”
The Peterson-Buffett grants will support NTI projects to reduce the risk of catastrophic terrorism by strengthening security for nuclear weapons materials, reducing their use in commerce and preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials.
The 9/11 Commission recommended a maximum effort by the U.S. government to secure weapons of mass destruction, saying that “the greatest danger of another catastrophic attack will materialize if the world’s most dangerous terrorists acquire the world’s most dangerous weapons.” There are approximately 40 countries with nuclear weapons materials – some very vulnerable to theft. Acquiring weapons and materials is the hardest step for terrorists to take and the easiest step for us to stop.
NTI will use the Peterson-Buffett grant to formally launch and bring to fruition two imperative nuclear security initiatives:
- Reducing Risks of Highly Enriched Uranium in Russian Research Reactors - A Blueprint for Action: Roughly half of all of the research reactors in the world that use weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU) are in Russia. The Russian government currently does not have a policy for minimizing the use of HEU in civilian facilities, and this severely constrains cooperative work with the U.S. government in this vital area. This project will advance a facility-by-facility survey to examine security requirements, opportunities for HEU removal, spent fuel management, and reactor conversion opportunities for civilian research reactors. This information could be the basis for a Russian decision about converting or eliminating these facilities and could serve as a catalyst for Russia to minimize the use of HEU in civil applications.
- WINS: The World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) is a new global initiative to strengthen security for nuclear materials around the world. WINS is the best hope for rapidly increasing security at nuclear facilities and fills dangerous gaps in existing government and international efforts. WINS will bring together practitioners – the professionals responsible for on-the-ground security practices – to collect the world’s best practices in nuclear materials security and to share that information among facilities that are responsible for protecting the world’s most dangerous nuclear materials and prevent these materials from getting into dangerous hands. WINS’ initial focus will be on security for the most dangerous materials – plutonium, mixed oxide fuel and highly enriched uranium.
The Peterson-Buffett grant will allow NTI to stimulate and support the stand-up of WINS as an independent entity and will help leverage additional contributions from governments and the nuclear industry.
In addition, NTI will continue to seek targeted opportunities to help specific facilities secure or eliminate nuclear materials when this work can leverage greater action by governments.
About the Nuclear Threat Initiative
NTI is a nonprofit organization working to reduce the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism. Since governments have the resources and authority for the large-scale work of threat reduction, NTI’s focus is on leveraging greater action by governments and other organizations. NTI has become a trusted partner for governments, having worked with nations and entities around the world, including the United States, Russia, Canada, Serbia, Kazakhstan, China, Norway, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. NTI also works with international organizations, becoming the first private organization authorized to fund and work directly with the International Atomic Energy Agency.